Tuesday, 8 September 2015

KYLE MACKIE'S Essay on the Daily Mail's Peter Hitchens' attitude towards the current REFUGEE crisis.

Intro: This is a post I came across on a friend's feed today. It was originally posted by KYLE MACKIE. I believe it is too good not to reproduce and disseminate as far and wide as possible. I'd appreciate your help in achieving this goal.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

IDS and Ms Mone: A match Made In Heaven?

Iain Duncan Smith and Michelle Mone;

Now, there’s a combination to send shivers up the spine. Putting the two of them together under a Tory banner to encourage a surge of entrepreneurship amongst the unemployed and disadvantaged, to produce a resurgence in this island’s ‘nation of shopkeepers’ is a bit like grabbing a beautiful but totally mis-sized article of Michelle’s design. You’ll end up with eye candy to admire, but something which utterly lacks any form of real support.

Before this project even starts it’s a busted flush, and whoever even thought about it when the answers are already self evident really needs to be taken behind closed doors for a damned good spanking.

It’s because the answers are so self evident, that corporal, or even capital punishment needs used here.

Now consider the announcement; effectively they want to ‘take us back to being a nation of shopkeepers’.

All you need to do instead of traipsing around the country on what is effectively a publicity exercise, each time being twanged back to Westminster faster than an overstretched knicker elastic could possibly manage, is look back to see why that situation doesn’t exist any more, and what might be needed to be done by government to recreate the conditions under which it flourished, rather than what’s being done here, which is a bit like Michelle embroidering a flower on a bra cup and waiting for it to bloom.

I can answer this, because from Germany to the Dominican Republic, I can speak of a uniformity of what makes this possible. These places do exist, but they’re as easily killed off as day long comfort when you buy Michelle’s products only for their visual impact.

These places have very few chain super-stores; in fact it’s often legislatively punitive for them to enter these markets. These countries often put different tax rates simply based on floor space. Huge stores can pay double per meter what small ones do. Such systems, or their alternatives, are quite effective in encouraging individual entrepreneurship.

Otherwise, no matter what anyone tries, you’re not going to compete. The buying power of the big franchises means they get the volume discounts – your small startup company doesn’t. If they can’t buy you out, they’ll drive you under with ‘loss leaders’ before they jack the prices back up again; you only need look to the spread of Wal-Mart throughout US cities and the demise of the “Mon n Pop” shops. If you come up with something truly innovative, you just might make it, but it’s not guaranteed. This is because the financing is all pretty much tied up in big corporate or the City, and as just another unemployed wannabe, it’s not impossible to succeed in this system, but it’s a real struggle. You could compare it to old Lord Sewell trying to properly fill out one of Michelle’s bras. He’s proven willing, but no matter how hard he tries his favourite coloured one just never seems to fit right. And so it goes with finance packages that might be offered to any would-be entrepreneur coming from the ranks of the unemployed. (NB. Westminster’s a bit kinder than calling our unfortunate masses the great unwashed these days, no matter that their actions demonstrate it is how we’re still considered).

Firstly, legislation needs to be enacted that will level the playing field between the big girls and the little girls on the block. However with vested interests, corruption and lobbying at Westminster, there’s about as much chance of that happening as a prayer to God by Ms Mone asking for all girls to be made the same size, and suddenly half the population would have identical boobs thus streamlining her manufacturing costs. Essentially then if you can’t change the fundamentals, you’re stuck with what you’ve got. What you’ve got is the system which permitted or even encouraged the demise of the entrepreneur – like different sized boobs; it’s a fact of life.

The other thing which isn’t being acknowledged because evidently this UK government is incapable of seeing it, is that while every life is special, valued and cherished, we’re not all created equally. Some will only ever be capable, or even comfortable in more basic capacities, while others will thrive in challenge. As a generality those in the second group tend not to be on the unemployment line for extended periods while the former certainly wouldn’t be there either if they could find a way out. The former tend to need the latter to help them along, the latter need the former to help them truly succeed. In other words, a society that truly integrates people of all abilities to ensure everyone benefits. The UK is like a shop window today, where only Michelle’s best selling lines are out for display, while the bargain-bin items that really didn’t fly off the shelves are like the disadvantaged in our society; they’re quietly sacrificed on a bonfire of the vanities out the back. Let's be honest, blaming the disadvantaged for their situation without allowing or creating ways for them to change it, is vain indeed.

For us Scots and especially those who voted ‘No’ last year, we can only look back and wonder why we did not grasp the thistle. We know the result was mostly founded on Project Fear, yet like one of Michelle’s broken knicker elastics, it might have be unpleasant for a bit or cause a little temporary difficulty, but resourceful people do get past problems, and we know for sure – Scots are resourceful people. We’re resourceful enough to understand that with Holyrood, we might have accountability, with Westminster, we never will.

Ask a ‘No’ voter under those circumstances, why they cast their vote that way. For by understanding ‘No’ is the only way ‘Yes’ will prevail.

Next time we need to say yes, even if it’s only to avoid the picture in our media of Lord Sewell again modeling what Michelle works to produce. For surely not one of us can point to that image and say – “Uh huh – that’s my Country, that’s my Union – I’m so glad I voted for that!”

Finally, on a serious note, ‘No’ voters should also be aware that every time there’s a suicide, a terminal patient forced back into work, either of which seem to happen numerous times on a daily basis through Westminster’s uncaring and unaccountable policies, that they too are responsible for that, and when the day comes that it’s one of their family? Well don’t moan, because it too was your choice.

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Guest writer Steven McBrien on Yvette Cooper ... and other Labour "worthies".

I've just read that Yvette Cooper is bravely using her campaign to become leader of the "We Stand For Stuff" Party to highlight a focus on the inequality of gender in the job thus far. Out of 23 leaders, only two have been female, and neither was elected. Well, Yvette, Every Labour MP is equal as far as I'm concerned, male and female. You're all equally disgraceful, equally mendacious and equally Tory-lite, irrelevant hypocrites.

Inequality? Privilege? You want to talk about them, Yvette? Fair enough. Let's talk.

Let's talk about the people I support with learning disabilities, who spent the last year getting their housing benefit stopped and being forced onto JSA because some tinpot who gets paid thirty grand a year doesn't think they are disabled enough. Let's talk about how they then had to attend job-seekers appointments with private agencies; private agencies who then attempted to force them into 40 hour a week cleaning jobs starting at 4am every day, all for their own profit on commission, while the people in question didn't have a clue what they were being told or what they were agreeing to because they were attending these weekly appointments without support.

And why were they attending Wise Group and DEA meetings without support? Why, because their support hours have been cut due to lack of funding of course, necessitating my transfer of them from JSA onto ESA, at which point, despite WROs assuring us that it wouldn't happen, their benefits were then slashed and they were forced to withstand fourteen weeks of reduced income - which, by the way, they didn't get reinstated - before going to a benefits review to prove that they had disabilities and should receive ESA, which they had been in receipt of in the first place. For people who find answering the phone stressful, it's a far from lovely experience. And all of this while you and your husband were taking time out from fiddling your second home allowances - you know, those second home allowances that, on top of your and Ed's collective £300,000+ ministerial salaries and expenses still managed by themselves to come to about three times what they were and are living on in a year - to vote by abstention time and again for austerity, like you did, yet again, just six days ago.

Come with me then, with these men, some of whom were living in institutions in which they were subjected to physical abuse on a near-daily basis while you were taking your piano and ballet lessons, who were later shuffled out into care homes around the time that you were studying economics at Baliol. Leave your £700,000 second home and come with me, into their housing association flats, and let's use that Oxbridge economic nous of yours to find out how to do a £25 weekly shop in Lidl and Farmfoods together.

Then, after you've done all of that, feel free to come back and prate to me about inequality.

Yours egalitarianly,


Monday, 22 June 2015

Can We Have Affordable, Beneficial Housing in Scotland?

I think we can, but we need improve its associated costs while we’re about it.

The sad thing is it needn’t take public money, just public and political will. The pride it can engender, the ‘we can’ mentality could also be another incremental stepping stone towards a ‘yes’ in the next referendum.

We, the Scots, need to quite literally ‘get off our behookies’ and light a fire under our politicians. It’s irrelevant as to who those politicians are, they need prodded into action.

The first thing to understand is that housing, like anything, follows a supply and demand value structure. The second thing to understand is that a great deal of that value structure is dependent upon the pricing of land, which I’ll deal with later. The second part of the equation to create affordable housing is obviously directly related to increasing the market supply.

It’s really not that hard to do, but….

For now, the one big thing I have to ask is why folk are so scared?

For many of them they’re so scared they don’t even think, can’t even allow themselves to think of the obvious solution?

I’m referring them to building their own home.

I’ve talked to lots of folk, their foremost thought is where they can afford to buy and will they get a mortgage?

I can’t recall anyone who initially said “I’d like to build….but” – it has in point of fact become something of an alien concept, building a house. If you discuss the subject there are all sorts of objections thrown up – like buying land, building costs and then, for many, actually getting planning permission, hooking up sewers, power, light, streets. It’s all seen as something only government or ‘big builders or investors’ can or should do.

I hear and see the SNP encouraging immigration, they say Scotland needs people, and I’ve got to agree with that. My question is where are we going to put them without driving up house prices and creating another false ‘bubble’ that in the end will burst while still mostly benefiting the bankers, because, let’s face it, in the United Kingdom, banker’s rarely lose, even when they should be jailed for the human misery their greed so often creates.

Scotland needs housing – I don’t think anyone denies that.

Scotland’s government could draft a universally supported bill and pass the law which allows it to happen, for minimal cost. Land could be set aside, perhaps what’s known as ‘Brownfield’ land, or perhaps simply land that’s already in public ownership and meets certain criteria. (Land reform will be my next blog).

Our government could then set forward a competition with several architectural firms for home designs which are ‘uniquely and traditionally Scots’ in both design and build, homes which won’t be ‘just Barratt-boxes’, but places folk will be proud to help build, create, develop or maintain. These plans should be free to anyone wishing to build, and subject to automatic planning approval at designated site locations. By doing that, much of the perceived obstacle is removed. It’d be good to limit these plans to single family or semi-detached and no more than two story. Ideally there’d be several plan options available for each classification. As codes and requirements change, so they’re updated.

Another big issue is financing; there’s absolutely no reason that the government can’t provide interest free construction loans to qualifying individuals for, perhaps, twelve months, renewable (for a set percentage) for two additional spans. Sometime during those three years you’ll have to convert to a conventional mortgage, so you’d better be finished. If this was done, folk could live in their present homes without undue financial burden. There would simply be no re-payment due during the construction process – funds would be released after proof the last lot were used for the intended purpose.

A big issue is the infrastructure, that’s installed at present under the public purse, but unlike at present, some half of that cost could be re-collected when the home’s complete. It’s really not as much as folk imagine, often as little as one or two percent of the cost of the home. It’s simply rolled into the final mortgage amount.

Next, we need to look into population density. I have a husband that spent his later youth in Livingston, he could only describe it as ‘soul destroying’, so densely packed were the houses. I’ve come to understand that it’s even in decisions like that the pervasive ‘too wee, too poor, too stupid’ is re-enforced, albeit subliminally. Force folk into what is in effect a commune and there is every chance you may destroy aspiration. Some will rise above it, not as many as should or could though. Imagine if we simply passed a law with two small considerations; that no home may be within ten meters of a boundary line, and that no window may look directly into that of another home within fifty meters. Effectively you’d ensure that homes were built on a staggered plan. Scots would feel they’d room to breathe. To see the sky, to expand their horizons with quite substantial ancillary benefits

In an advanced and wealthy nation like ours, these things shouldn’t be that difficult. When it comes to implementing this, there’d be challenges. Nevertheless I can’t accept that Scots can’t beat those challenges. For example the government itself, as part of the act, could set up a central hub for folk to register for these places. The government could underwrite the loans, and penalties could be severe for misuse. Folk who’s circumstances change, or who walk away simply lose the investment made, which could be as low as 5% funding lodged in an escrow account.

These communities can rebuild Scotland’s heart, a heart so wounded for so many by a recent referendum result, and they could truly do it if we abandon London’s egocentric, selfish and destructively capitalistic ways by limiting their size to perhaps a thousand homes, codifying a need for a mile or two of green-space between them and limiting the floor-space of any retail establishment to perhaps a hundred meters square, which could be very advantageously taxed, with penalties severely imposed on a sliding scale above that. We need to level the playing field between big corporate and the corner shop. Our new communities have to protect our independent trades-folk, for example the local butcher, simply being swallowed up by ‘Asda’ or ‘Morrison’s’, then discovering themselves unemployed on some future day through ‘corporate adjustments’. We can plan our new developments as we plan the future of our communal ‘high streets’.

If we focus on what we can do, with the powers we now have, we can rebuild the heart of Scotland’s communities, we can be a shining light, we can house any who need it. Like the next referendum, the changes required for a ‘win’ won’t happen overnight, but the can happen if we will it. They can also help to prepare the way for that future victory.

We do need more powers in Edinburgh because not all of those we’ve won so far are unusable.

Friday, 19 June 2015

Breach of Promise or Breach of Contract

Let’s consider a question I was asked recently, and to be honest, it sounded like it was a bit pointless at first blush.

The question was simple, and I’m reminding you I’m not a lawyer, but I was intrigued. The individual simply asked if Mssrs. Cameron, Clegg, Miliband and possibly Brown and/or their parties could be sued for breach of promise over ‘The Vow’ as it was published in the Daily Record in the dying days of the Referendum Campaign.

There was a second aspect to this – if it is possible to do it, did I think it could be crowd-funded?

Honestly, I’ve no idea, was my immediate and rather doubtful response, but it was worth investigating anyway. You see, my recollection of that ‘Vow’ at the time was that it could be read in multiple ways, have a dozen interpretations, and there were really no ‘cast iron guarantees’ built into it. It was, essentially, designed to take the switherer and give them a justification for not doing what they were then believing; that it might be right to vote ‘Yes’.

Interestingly, in spite of what others may say, do or argue every indication I’m discovering is that whatever impact the ‘Vow’ had on the referendum is irrelevant now. Many believe it was the deciding factor. I agree it had a major impact, so I was surprised, none of that is actually relevant. The Union parties seem to think it is though, that caused me to keep digging – what’re they trying to hide?

The starting point is simple; what was actually promised, or less solidly, what would be reasonable to construe was promised. The fact that their names were signed to it, and they de-facto didn’t deny or refute any of it and in actuality did publicly (as the legal’s state) ‘aver and affirm’ if not specifically using those words, implies a promise or contract, in which they could now potentially be in breach.

If they did enter into such a contract, then it’d have been one with the people of Scotland, or even more specifically, those amongst us that altered our vote from ‘Yes’ to ‘No’ based upon that ‘Vow’ ‘Contract’ or ‘Promise’, but it’s most likely that a suit brought by specific individuals lodged and worded something as the ‘people of Scotland’ might suffice.

The second aspect was ‘were they protected by parliamentary privilege’, essentially meaning they can’t be sued. Categorically, the answer here is no. The announcement, undertaking or feel-good fuzzy, call it what you want to, was made by means of a daily tabloid “news”-paper.

So – was there anything specific enough to constitute a contract or promise?

In looking through the Record’s page on the day in question, reading it carefully, helped by someone who used to help actually make laws in the United States (so note the qualifier – it’s not Scot’s advice, but I’m told that although Contract and Promissory law has nuances, it’s overall pretty consistent) what I heard fell out as follows:

1. It stated the three main party leaders had all signed up to the incorporated statements – they’re therefore all on the hook for anything that followed, as long as the specifics could be defined. No specifics, no hook. No ‘No’ vote – it’s all moot anyway.

2. They promised to transfer more powers to Holyrood. That’d have to be in addition to anything that went before. If they give Holyrood the rights over its janitorial budget, and it hadn’t had them before then the promise is fulfilled. It still might be open to argument on ‘reasonable expectation’ grounds, but a near certain win has dropped into rather dubious ‘coin flip’ territory.

3. ‘No one, other than the Scottish Parliament can cut vital public services such as the NHS’ – This is where it might get interesting, because they (Westminster) hold the purse strings, and there was no guarantee they’d not cut funding thereby forcing the Scottish Government to cut services. On the surface it’s a loss here, especially as they already told us we’d be getting more budget cuts, a loss except for the fact that it could be argued it builds on the first point as to right of expectation.

4. The powers were then guaranteed to be ‘extensive’. Still, they could give you the right to pick your nose in addition to those ‘janitorial services’, then they’d argue that was ‘extensive’ – it’s coin flip territory once more, except it again builds upon the umbrella impression of realistic expectation.

5. They agreed that the Scottish Parliament is ‘Permanent’, unless they try to abolish it, there’s no breach of promise there. Even failure to enshrine it constitutionally doesn’t breach that promise – effectively it’s been so declared. Once more it builds on that expectation thing.

6. They promised to improve government in the UK in the years ahead. This might be a ‘gotcha’ with the Alistair Carmichael thing. Arguably, not requiring or requesting resignation shows intent to abandon this pledge. It’s still too early to make a definitive point though. Getting rid of corrupt members could be claimed as showing good intent, avoiding the subject, not so much. Might be a solid argument in a decade, not today. Again it builds on the ‘right of expectation’ thing.

In short, with one exception, this was effectively a media publicity stunt, and that very important exception is the right of expectation.

It was explained to me like this, that if I buy a car, and I’m promised it will be red, three years old, with less than thirty thousand miles and in excellent condition both bodily and mechanically, with the reasonable anticipation of many thousands of happy motoring miles in front of me, then that’s what I should get.

If that car is delivered as described above, but I subsequently discover it’s had a governor fitted, or been ‘wheel clamped’ then the letter of the contract has absolutely been adhered to, however the right of expectation has been thoroughly trashed. The goods are not fit for purpose as one had been led to believe.

This falls under the fact that in law, and Scot’s law too, it isn’t actually necessary to define every detail, but broad expectations are enough. The folk simply need to be competent. Working through the result of the referendum to the landslide in May for the SNP, it’s almost an inescapable argument that many amongst Scotland’s electorate believed one thing, acted in one way (No Vote) and now believe they’ve been sold what would be commonly referred to as ‘a Lemon’, oddly enough, there’s laws against that too!

It would appear that in drafting this vow Cameron, Clegg, Miliband and Brown had fairly good contractual advice, however it would appear they used English legal advice. However the offer was made through the medium of a Scottish Red-Top to the Scots electorate in such a way it could only be accepted in Scotland. Therefore Scots Law and NOT English Law would seem to apply and be the potential initiator of many problems for the “gentlemen” involved.

Effectively, using that massive vote swing as confirmation, it can be argued that a contract was offered, accepted and viewed as breached. In addition, that there was a poll showing a 51/49 vote split in favour of the ‘Yes’ vote with the ‘Yes’ vote steadily gaining momentum until that point at which the ‘Vow’ was made resulting a net six percent reduction in the ‘Yes’ ballot and a final 45/55 poll in favour of ‘No’ also speaks to the efficacy of the offer.

All aspects of this particular case say that, effectively, Scotland’s electorate was sold a wheel-clamped car.

On that, there is without doubt a case.

All that would remain to be answered would be if an unbiased judge heard the case, and on which side of the coin the result would finally land. Only the court itself could determine if it was a winning case.

As to other promises made during this time-frame, they could be viewed as ‘adjunct offers’ especially if not refuted in word or deed by the parties concerned before the vote took place.

One thing is certain, even if the case didn’t make it to court, even a moderately successful attempt at fundraising towards getting it there would prove intensely embarrassing to all the potential respondents.

Should the suit prove successful, and if properly worded, it could force anything from a re-run of the poll itself to utter upheaval in the constitution of the United Kingdom, for in an extreme case it’s entirely possible that a judge could (not would, could) order the establishment of a federalized governmental system.

Where it would go from there would be…..interesting.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

David Cameron - The man with no Honour.

Even Maggie couldn’t truly be accused of being that shallow, but the current leader of the United Kingdom has this week categorically proven himself a snake oil salesman of the worst degree, a cad and a bounder in the Oxbridge parlance and utterly dishonourable.

David Cameron has taken the already low opinion of politicians that’s almost universally shared throughout the electorate of Britain, and flushed what little remained down Westminster’s porcelain bowl.

I had a look to see if any of this was libelous, so Cad is defined as a man (I think he might fit that description) who behaves dishonourably, especially towards a woman. In this UK Scotland is often portrayed the ‘wife’, Nicola Sturgeon was essentially promised the ‘VOW’ would be kept (look upon the Vow as a re-dedication of that marriage). So, by voting down the permanence of Holyrood, something enshrined in convention, and where supporting a vote would have been of no consequence or cost, especially after what was printed against his name on the Daily Record front page and which he affirmed through not denying or distancing then and has promised to keep since, Cad is entirely appropriate.

Dishonourable; per Google, has these synonyms; disgraceful, shameful, shameless, shaming, disreputable, discreditable, degrading, debasing, ignominious, ignoble, blameworthy, contemptible, despicable, reprehensible, shabby, shoddy, sordid, sorry, base, low, improper, unseemly, and unworthy. Consider the refusal of the Scotland office to release full details of the ‘Carmichael Memo’, ultimately the Scotland office reports to him, the minister in charge does anyway. Cameron was notable by his voice being absent for those calling for Alistair Carmichael to resign. This can only lead to speculation as to whether he himself was in that loop which authorized the release of the (at best) inaccurate details or (at worst) a fabricated smear. We weren’t told he was, but just like Mundell, we certainly weren’t told he wasn’t. The leader always carries the responsibility to act. He did or he didn’t, either way, it was without Honour.

A bounder; that popped up as ‘dishonourable, nothing but a fortune seeking man’, doesn’t really need elaborated on, does it?

The snake oil salesman bit? As his own back benchers are discovering over the EU thing, the man really can’t be trusted. He certainly is proving that he peddled ‘snake oil’ with that Vow.

The best that could probably be said for him, he’s taken these very despicable traits of human nature and absolutely exploited them to gain his best personal advantage – he is PM after all?

Jim Murphy made a statement recently; essentially he said that David Cameron is such an idiot that he’ll sleep-walk Scotland into another referendum – the implication being that now he’s quite categorically proved himself all of the above, then he’ll not win it this time. If that wasn’t the implication, why bother with the statement?

I found it quite sad that Jim left what is perhaps his one comment which was worthy of preserving for posterity until after the time when things he says are more irrelevant than ever. He too, it appears, might no longer be Cameron’s political opponent, but he’s arguably supporting these words.

Sadly, we certainly suspected this before the referendum, before the May election. The evidence was clear though not fully unqualified.

In the end, in a very small way, I suppose my hat’s tipped to Nick Clegg for just one thing; it is becoming clear you did try to keep Cameron honest, though for whatever reason you had not publicly displayed the intelligence to articulate that properly, or the moral fortitude to walk away from an apparent shyster in 2010, 2011 or 2012, by which time you could have no doubt of the character with which you were dealing. You could have walked away with honour and respect back then.

As for Labour? Well, in or out of power, they’re irrelevant, and by this week’s abstentions and voting patterns alone (there are many more examples to select as well, like their refusal to condemn the ‘bedroom tax’ and support of the bankers, stripping of national assets, etc, etc …) they’ve condemned themselves to perhaps an eternity in the wilderness.

Labour could recover; they could act with honour and principle, with integrity and solidarity. That’s the way forward for them, they know it works too – just look at what happened in GE2015 when they ran up against such in Scotland. And no, the SNP isn’t perfect, far from it, but all the media spin, lies and dissemination still couldn’t fool the majority of the voters.

David Cameron is a product of his party, his society and of the London elite. It looks like the next Labour leader will be too. Everything emerging during the current Westminster and EU debates is indicating that David Cameron probably isn’t fit to lick Alistair Carmichael’s boots, and that’s some achievement by any measure. Perhaps it’s not one to be so proud of though?

In Scotland however, we can analyse these self-serving party and individual personalities, where we find them, we need to root them out from positions of responsibility or authority, because gods forbid we’d ever emulate, admire or elect them again!

Holyrood needs to pass just one law. It’d be a good, fair and just law, and I’d love to see any Westminster dominated party argue against it.

Simply, what you as a party or individual promise to win a vote, must be delivered or face being recalled.

End of.

Monday, 15 June 2015

They Gied Us Lemons.

FFA, Fiscal Autonomy, Federalism, call it what you will.

It started out that we Scot’s would be about a couple of billion a year in the hole. Westminster suddenly realized that was less than what we had to pay as a part of UK debt, heck, we’re getting up there on being charged our share of London’s Olympics, Cross-rail (they didn’t offer a hand out on Edinburgh’s tram’s, did they?), being charged a pro-rata for London’s new sewer system, and god alone knows what we’ll have to pay if the World Cup comes back to England?

It’s fine, I hear, we got the Commonwealth Games, look at the subsidies there? As in what subsidies?

Then of course, there are the massive energy penalties that all Scots pay.

The amount Scotland would need subsidised began to escalate.

Five billion, seven, in the Sunday Express, it was ten billion – any advances?


You see, the Unionists quite literally scared many elderly into a no vote, they convinced others through biased propaganda, and finally there was the “VOW”. Well, not so much a VOW, but more ‘THE CON’; however although that’s largely now irrelevant, what isn’t, is that Scots voted to stay. Scots voted to be part of this Union.

What the Unionists aren’t revealing is that FFA might in the worst case be hell in a hand-basket for Scotland, but being in the Union, Westminster would still be responsible for it.

The interesting thing is that these ‘new massive deficits’ aren’t what they seem. They’re all predicated on the status quo.

So, effectively, London and her media bubble are saying ‘you can’t have it, because you can’t handle it’ while saying simultaneously ‘that debt, by the way, you’ve already got it, and we’re already covering it’

You see, the biggest part of that referendum business last year, was the ‘better together’ and ‘pooled resources’ bit.

When you look at it deeply, you quickly come to understand that what it’s all about is Westminster’s awareness that they’ve truly screwed things up; that and their unwillingness to be seen to have done so.

Let’s look at the scenarios.

Scenario one is FFA for Scots. We decide to do things differently, it’s successful, and egg gets thrown all over faces in the Palace in London.

Scenario two is we blow it with knobs on. Scenario two will not happen overnight, economies just don’t change that fast, but if we did, Westminster steps in, removes FFA and slaps Scots for being idiots, perhaps by 2% more on income tax until we pay for ‘our folly’ – they could even propose that going in – it’s a bet I’d take.

Regardless, that extra levy couldn’t really be assessed, because Scot’s are only 10% of the UK, and the UK umbrella debt wouldn’t change by much. Even if we awarded all our underprivileged double benefits, and doubled the size of the NHS, it might only add 5% more to the UK debt burden. For me, that 5% isn’t a reason to say ‘NO’ FFA.

Imagine what Westminster would gain if FFA was achieved unfettered and implemented, without requiring the Governor General’s approval. Now imagine it failing, and that little penalty being imposed for a handful of years.

Effectively you’d do what George Robertson in fact claimed of Devolution, you’d kill the demands for ‘more’ stone dead, at least you’d do so in enough Scot’s eyes to stop the Nationalists movement in its tracks.

What will happen if FFA is an unmitigated success? You will end up with a thriving economy just humming along; an economy that benefits everyone, Scots and the Union alike.

If it’s just little different, then it’ll not cost either party more, if it doesn’t actually save money. Government is returned closer to the people, never a bad thing, and responsibility returns to a more local level.

Effectively, the only reason then for Westminster not following FFA is because they believe it will succeed. And they’re scared of that, because in that success they’ll see a demand for more powers and a lessening of their own prestige and influence.

Why should they believe that? They’ve every reason in the world. Just look at Holyrood, the ‘wee pretendy parliament’, which was just called an executive but is now in the eyes of the world an actual ‘Parliament’, with a respected ‘First Minister’.

We demonstrated with Holyrood that although they ‘gied us lemons, we made lemonade’. Westminster and her backers are truly terrified to see what we might achieve with FFA.

Friday, 5 June 2015

The Real Reason Why Labour Lost The GE.

I sat quietly, observing for most of the General Election campaign, partly because I was fairly confident that in Scotland there would be an SNP Tidal Wave and in England, a Labour Win.

As we well know, only one actually materialized. I innately knew immediately why the other didn’t, in fact, from about May 1st, I became certain it wouldn’t, but the polls said otherwise – right up until the exit poll.

Since then, I’ve watched the unfolding events in vague shock and awe.

In that vein I’m going to use some parallels and analogies, they might be unpalatable to some, but they’re accurate so deserve inclusion and use.

The Shock; that England could vote for and elect a party on a mandate which was arguably more right-wing than that which facilitated the election of Hitler’s Nazi’s in 1932/33, although they interestingly were elected on almost identical platforms of anti-foreign (Cameron’s ‘Scots’ and EU policies to Hitler’s internalized Nationalism [there really isn’t much difference between those two, the only kind of Nationalism that can be acceptable is the inclusive embracing type which seeks to look outwards in non-dictatorial friendship]). Both coupled this with restricting the rights of parts of their citizenship, in Hitler’s case, he attacked the Jewish community, academics, opponents and disabled; in Cameron’s case he’s attacking the vulnerable, the poor and the Scots, arguably also where much of academia of British Isles originated.

Amongst Hitler’s first acts was issuance of the ‘Fire Decree’, suspending Civil Liberties, essentially dispensing with a need to worry about Human Rights. David Cameron has literally issued his own vow – he wants the UK removed from the protection of the European Human Rights Act. He’s promised a ‘British Bill of Rights’, but who’s to say what’ll be in it? Or even who or what will be protected, or even if some will be “more protected” than others. Which I feel is a fair statement when you check on how unfair British society has become.

Incidentally, both Cameron and Hitler were elected with marginally 37% of the popular vote.

Hitler formed a secret police, the Gestapo. The UK didn’t actually need to do that; we’ve already got the Official Secrets Act (remember how the McCrone Report was buried?) coupled to MIs 5 & 6, our own secret courts and utterly compliant media – which were all Third Reich fortes. Now, our little cherry on the icing of our cake is the “Snooper’s Charter”. This permits those government organisations to go intelligence gathering on a level which couldn’t be conceived of in Himmler’s (head of the Gestapo’s) wildest dreams. He had to rely on neighbours reporting neighbours just as like Stalin did. Indeed, 21st century intelligence gatherers just use computer technology to collate their data.

Million’s died to defend us from this – those million’s sacrificed to build a socially inclusive state after their victory. It was a hard toil, yet they did it.

The Awe; Cameron was campaigning on this platform, campaigning to get rid of these securities that so many gave the ultimate sacrifice for, and Labour had an open goal. The ball was never kicked. The striker simply fell flat on his face, and then looked around stupidly hoping for a referee’s whistle.

Cameron refused to say where his cuts would fall and Labour failed to offer a single ‘most likely’ scenario with which they could have hammered the Tories.

Cameron and his compliant media demonised the Scots. He effectively promised to make them ‘second class citizens’ through hobbling all three legs of the stool; firstly - our ‘avowed’ and exceptionally diluted new devolution settlement by handing primarily useless powers north (Smith); secondly, reducing the effect our MPs will have in Westminster (EVEL); and thirdly by neutering our Parliament by introducing a veto wielded by the Governor General in the Scottish Office; an office that makes no bones about undermining and discrediting the running of Holyrood.

The tools for Miliband were there to be utelised.

The Snoopers Charter was an easy one for Labour to tackle. All they had to do was remember those who died for those rights and ask if those millions of deaths were to be in vain; especially in these years of the glorification of WW1.

The removal of the Human Rights legislation should have been right up there. Labour should have been screaming “foul” at the tops of their collective lungs. But a pin could be heard dropping in the hallowed halls.

The EU Referendum – I’m all in favour of referendums and I’m reasonably in favour of Europe too. I know it’ll never be perfect, but I also know it’s a hell of a lot better than being tied to Westminster. Labour could easily have pulled that from Cameron too, they just had to support the referendum idea on the basis of democracy, but tell everybody ahead of time, they’d be campaigning to stay in while negotiating the best deal possible for the UK.

Essentially, the opportunities for a soft tap in to win the game and lead the next government were almost without limit as the election race drew down.

Any one goal could possibly have seen the Labour Party home free.

Combined, I really doubt if they’d have needed any sort of coalition to hold power. Having said that, I didn’t want anyone in sole charge; I believed a coalition – whether formal or otherwise - benefits everyone.

Essentially then, the Tories, Cameron’s folk, didn’t win the 2015 GE, Labour simply decided to walk from the field.
The only question that needs to be asked after that realisation is why? That’s got an obvious answer, but judging from what I see of their current leadership contenders, none of them are capable of uncovering it or remediating it.

Cameron’s Conservatives, any extreme right wing party, has no defense against that type of argument.

Labour needs a leader who recognizes this and will contest the field, and they could’ve used any or all of these arguments to do it – because if they do or if they had, they’ll win.

The issue that I can see, they’ve largely the same paymasters, so even if they do manage to uncover a principled and socially minded leader, that person will be hobbled before they’re even allowed to leave the dugout.

Effectively England now needs a new center left party.

Labour UK – R.I.P. – May 2010

Yes, 2010, because Ed Miliband wasn’t why Labour lost. Labour lost because they lost their soul in forming ‘New Labour’. But it took until then for the public to come to this understanding.

I don’t know where souls go when things die – I do know they don’t return to the old body, or body politic.

Monday, 1 June 2015

Problems and Solutions

Well, I didn’t do much writing during the GE, nevertheless I can express my limited delight at the result. I say “limited” for two reasons. Firstly, because we didn’t win all the seats north of Tweed and Solway, however this is a very minor issue. Secondly, because the Tories still managed to secure a majority through English constituency wins; and for me, that’s a biggie.

The problem is that it’s pretty much always been that way. In this Union, Scotland is irrelevant. That’s a major issue. We are politically irrelevant anyway. The S.E. of England still needs our resources, human and environmental, and these are the real reasons they fought against our Independence campaign so hard, that and maintaining their perceived prestige.

What we did do in GE 2015, was put the wind royally up London’s establishment; arguably our 45 created more panic there than Charlie did with his effort in ’45, especially as our 45% accumulated a few more voters to give Westminster not just 55 this time (percent) but 56 (MPs). Moreover we all know but for Union Media lies, half truth and innuendo it would have been 59.

Scotland’s problem is that 59 still wouldn’t have mattered.

By the time of the GE, not much we could have done would have mattered, mostly because the SNP has a policy of not fighting ‘non-Scottish’ seats.

Subsequently, as long as Scotland is stuck with 59 MPs and EVEL looks to be on the cards, it would appear we’re going to be on the wrong end of the stick, unless we get exceptionally fortunate and the English Electorate chooses to gift us the balance of power, nothing is going to happen to change anything. Nothing will change especially because the English Electorate have clearly just stated, they’d rather suffer a bad dose of Tory medicine, they’d even be happy to give up their human rights, rather than see Scots hold power at Westminster.

We might be able, under current SNP candidacy policies, to legitimately contest Berwick upon Tweed and environs, giving us a potential of 60 MPs speaking in support of Scotland’s interests.

However, that will still not be much of a concern the Establishment.

No, what is required is a long term solution, and it needs to embrace an English component. No matter how you address the issue, the SNP or any progressive force in these Islands needs English MPs. They just don’t need them in the party. However, if they were closely tied to the SNP as a voting bloc on key policies – wouldn’t that be interesting.

For instance, what if the SNP offered to assist ‘Independent’ candidates in England? What if they appealed to potential candidates willing to subject themselves to the SNP vetting process and promise to support an independent voting bloc within Westminster? That scenario holds almost limitless potential. The offer for the next GE could be made immediately after a motion and approval at the next SNP conference. This would be a motion where the party would pledge to support English folks standing as independent candidates, still with their particular region’s interests and requirements foremost, but who are willing to put themselves forwards to become part of a ‘progressive alliance’ at Westminster’s next Election.

They’d start the process now; perhaps only going so far south as Scotch Corner. Additionally the Welsh Nationalist’s could do the same, targeting perhaps an alliance with the fifty closest constituencies to Wales. The promise made, the overriding policy, not to do much at first (after all, Labour, Tory and Lib’s have made such a mess these last fifty years) until a good look is had at the books, well, there’s nothing that anyone can really guarantee. That’s an easy sell. Implementing 5 years of progressive social justice, usually sells well also. Dump WMD and increase the regular forces, probably a winner. Open government, get points there too.

Just imagine the consternation within the establishment. It’d start immediately too. They absolutely don’t want the apple-cart upset any more than it has been. Especially if those English prospective members promise constitutional upheaval, like voting for abolishing the lords in favour of a proportionally representative senate. Oh my?

Imagine the political power that would suddenly and in the short term come the way of the SNP and Plaid.

We’d just have created one exceptionally big stick, and we’d be using it to poke a really large hornet’s nest that’s just about settling down to the fact it’s got 56 cans of blue and white bug repellent inside its belly. The problem is, those 56 can only give the hive a mild indigestion, make the insects scurry a bit more. We have to find a nuclear option to blow the two party system out of the water in order to bring power back to the peripheries. Our folk said ‘No’ on September 18th, but in view of how many wanted to say ‘Yes’ to Nicola and the SNP on May 7th and right across the UK as well, I’d bet we could manage it.

So – keep the Union for 2020 (unless other events bypass that), and extend the hand of Friendship to English Independents. Create a progressive alliance – or three, one for the North East, one for the North West, one for the Midland’s. We might not hold a majority, but we’ll potentially ensure that nobody else does either, and nothing scares the establishment more than that, for without a majority party, they’ll probably have to listen to us.

In the name of friendship, and true neighborliness, isn’t it beyond time that we helped our friends across the border, especially if we could help ourselves by doing that?

Friday, 8 May 2015

The Guillotine and the Noose.

The results are in, Tory Majority. Much of the UK will be asking itself how the polls got it so wrong.

Now that the election is over, we’ll be told that it’s just time to ‘heal the divisions’ and ‘suck it up’ because ‘democracy has spoken’. That’s if we’re told anything at all.

Consider; this was an election the outcome of which you couldn’t split with a guillotine. It was an election billed as the tightest of modern times. Polls hadn’t shifted in months. So what happened on the day?

Cameron’s noose – that object so beloved of hangmen, which strikes mortal fear into the condemned.

Human brains are funny things. We can be told all sorts of stuff, but we don’t believe it until presented with the news/act/fact that’ll bring it home. Two simple examples can be used to demonstrate this, the condemned and the smoker. The condemned usually manage not to think much about their future, or relative lack of it, until the final little while. Seeing the noose brings home everything, that last walk, the trepidation builds. For tobacco users, it will always happen to someone else, until it happens to them, then they usually wish they’d made different choices.

At this year’s GE, Middle England was presented with tales of an ‘Ajockalypse’, and in a comedic way it struck home, but wasn’t really taken seriously.

When many of Middle England’s swing voters walked into the booth however, they saw the horror of ‘Ajockalypse’ on that ballot paper – like the hangman’s noose, it was staring them in the face. For them though, there was an easy reprieve, just hold your nose and mark the paper somewhere else, praying that enough others would do the same that you’d be granted a permanent stay of execution.

It worked.

Middle England voted for the pain of five more years of ‘austerity’.

Middle England voted for ongoing demonization of the poor.

Middle England voted for disgraceful treatment of the underprivileged.

Middle England held its collective nose and voted for unfettered Toryism.

Middle England voted for Nuclear weapons; for bombs before bairns.

Middle England voted for ongoing creeping privatization of the NHS.

Middle England voted to go with the only significant party not promising constitutional reform.

Middle England voted to hurt itself.

Middle England did this because it was, quite simply, more afraid of ‘Ajockalypse’ than all of these issues combined.

Scotland must suffer it, because it’s what Middle England wanted. Faced with a perceived immediate disaster by ‘Ajockalypse’ and a more prolonged but incremental pain, Middle England chose unrestricted Toryism as the way to save itself from Scottish influence.

Middle England chose unidentified but certain and savage cuts. Cuts that have been guaranteed but not specified as to where they’ll fall, because it was convinced it was preferable to the certainty of ‘Ajockalypse’.

It really doesn’t matter how anyone examines the facts, at day’s end, both Labour and Tory campaigns were woeful, the polls told us this too. The only thing which really separated them was ‘Ajockalypse’.

On May 7th, 2015, Middle England decided it couldn’t suffer ‘Ajockalypse Now’, it didn’t realize that with that choice, it’s guaranteed it; it’ll just never acknowledge it as such.

David Cameron won an election – he squandered a state to do it.

History will teach, ‘Ajockalypse’ will be the word that finally condemned a union.

David Cameron will ultimately go down in history as the Prime Minister who won a referendum only to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. It will only rate a footnote, if that, but the strategies Cameron pursued were designed by an American, Jim Messina, an American who has absolutely no concept of an already fractured Union, an American who doesn’t care for it. Jim Messina is an American who’s interest in his personal stock, in ‘chalking up another in the win column’. Anyone who doubts that only needs to look at his actions before and after the result.

Jim Messina won’t be the one to suffer though. He’ll just go home to America.

While David Cameron will rightly bear the blame, he employed the man after all, there’s a lesson in employing folk from outside the franchise to meddle within it.

David Cameron will try to heal the rifts, slap sticking plaster on the wounds. History will show he might as well have tried to put out the great fire of London using a teacup dipped in the Thames, for like that conflagration the firestorm of constitutional upheaval will now just have to burn itself out. As to Cameron, he might just find himself unaware he has already chained his legacy to the stake.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Fantasy Land

That’s really the only two words I can use to sum up either the Tory or Labour party manifestos.

If you’d rather, ‘In Yer Dreams Mate’ might work as well.

Look at what being offered, count the cost, and note the current account deficit.

There’s no money.

Where will the ability to pay for these pledges come from?

The poor can’t pay, the rich won’t pay (their lobbyists will see to that) and the middle class are about broke.

That leaves another round of demonization followed by sweeping benefit cuts, or cuts to basic services. Either way, it’ll do nothing to halt the swiftly rising tide of need for things like food banks.

This is not my kind of society.

Both parties could pre-identify savings; it’s really not that hard. There is a huge one in Trident for starters. There are two more in a couple of aircraft carriers that this island state, with its four constituent nations, can’t even afford the aircraft for. Sell those ships and put the cash in the coffers, and yes, we’ll take a loss, but then we did vote in the idiots that ordered them in their imperial pretentiousness. However, that loss will be a one-time loss, not an ongoing drain and we as a nation won’t be paying to support America’s military industrial complex rather than our own.

I thought the Greens might offer England’s voters a credible alternative to the big two or UKIP, sadly, policy credibility is conclusively hidden somewhere in ‘Fantasy Land’ for them. What the Greens propose would be economic suicide. It is not that it can’t be done, it just shouldn't be done.

The issue is that England needs a credible alternative home for its popular vote, because right now it really does not have any viable home at all.

Imagine a Green party, or a new English party like the SNP that stood on a simple platform ‘We’re not going to change much, not right away anyway, but we will abolish the House of Lords’. Imagine them communicating that message.

The message would be enhanced by a guarantee of a real constitution, with a constitutional lock that’d guarantee a balanced budget within a decade. Throw in more constitutional locks such as the new upper chamber could only review laws or perhaps block anything the commons passed, however it’d have to be non-aligned and have equal numbers of members from each constituent nation.

Now get back to policies, just keep it simple, and explain that you really can’t give Jo and Josie public any more than what they've already got, because you’ll have to deal with the mess the other idiots left behind, and you’re certainly not going to promise something then renege when you open the treasury doors and find a note saying ‘good luck, enjoy, sorry there’s no money left!’

If you want those fuzzy green policies stuffed in there, clean up inner city air pollution, explain that it’d lower the burden on the NHS due to pollution related health issues, and then propose a phased in assessment based upon how much a vehicle pollutes. If you've got a heavily polluting vehicle you’ll pay yet another tax that’ll support green policies, and that money will go directly to local councils for that reason. Give it a ten year phase in, there’ll not be much objection, most of us will simply plump for low polluting transportation as time passes and escape the penalty.

That’s just one example to demonstrate that things really aren't that difficult to change, given time, the desire to make a positive contribution and the proper approach.

I expect I’d vote for a party proposing that sort of progressive change, especially if it also allowed me to replace my MP mid-term if they weren't serving their constituents, or promised that any MP guilty of violating the law of the land would be subject to triple the normal sentencing guidelines. They should, after all, be held to a higher standard.

It is possible to spend your way out of a recession, but you can’t do it by fulfilling election promises that will increase the current account deficit – it only works if you use the money to put folk to work, generate more taxes, get more competitive and protect the home market in some way. Do that and you can work to a balanced budget and greater wealth for us all. Maybe one day we’ll see a UK wide party and not just a national one propose something along those lines?

Perhaps, but then again there’s a reason this blog’s titled ‘Fantasy Land’.

In the United Kingdom, for as long as it exists, I’d expect it will always be ‘politics as usual’, because a balanced budget won’t make money for the bankers and financial gamblers who sit at the heart of the City of London, and therefore UK government.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Well Played Nicola

In the last 100 hours we’ve seen some rather dramatic election happenings. The machinations are utterly inconsequential to the English, but so very impactful north of Hadrian’s Wall.

We have seen Nicola Sturgeon re-emphasize her offer to the Labour Party, as in the London Establishment one crewed by the failed coxswains of Eton, Oxford and Cambridge. ‘Let’s work together to put Ed in number 10’, with the undertaking ‘I’ll make certain he’s got a spine and will follow through on at least some of his promises’.

Although the SNP know they’ll have a very limited window in Westminster to achieve much of anything before a future snap election is called, that offer can now be seen to be a bit of genius, intentional or otherwise.

I say ‘genius’ because it has assured Ed that Scotland is utterly irrelevant in this contest. It doesn't matter which way the country votes (not that it ever really did, much) because now he’s got the country in the bag.

Not having to placate Scots voters effectively allowed him to turn his attentions to middle England’s middle class, which is where almost all the UK General Elections since the end of the World War II have been won or lost.

Add that to a few polls showing the Conservatives starting to nudge ahead and Ed had little choice if he doesn't want to hemorrhage votes down there. He’s now got to practice some big time appeasement in Middle England, and pretty much guarantee them that unlike our oil revenues, their taxes won’t be ‘redistributed’.

Problem for Ed and Ed is the anointed leader of a non-existent Scottish Labour Party, specifically James Murphy Esq.

Jim, under their banner, has been doing just the opposite. He’s been promising that re-distribution. He promised it again after Nicola’s offer. In reality, he’d not a lot of choice, bleeding support as he is; he had to offer the now unfaithful something to tempt them back into the red-painted pen.

In reality, Nicola’s offer, ignoring Jim, sidelining him really, and going right to the power was genius. It told Ed, Ed and company, ‘deal with me, we’re equals in this game’.

It took less than 24 hours for Ed to chuck Jim under the bus wheels.

Ed’s deputy joined in not long after.

Poor Jim got ‘Chuka(d)’ again today. I expect he’s feeling a bit ‘tyred’ by now, which will be why he skipped the telly interview.

Wait a minute; a politician skipping an interview opportunity?

That one has me gobsmacked!

No matter what Labour and Ed Miliband now say before May 8th, these actions prove that absent a single party majority, the Labour-SNP deal is on the table, and Ed’s working for it in the only way he can, by winning Middle England and discarding Jim under the party bus.

For the first time in three centuries, Scots have a chance to participate actively in government.

Even if it fails, through a second election or a single party majority – Nicola Sturgeon will have won in the end.

Plan B – gotta love it!

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Tactical Voting - Are the Unionists insane?

No – really, they must be. Even they would realise it if they bothered to do joined up thinking, not just focusing on the next quarter or imminent election like their pals in London’s City have taught them to do.

Just as they did in the referendum, they’re only looking at the here and now, the immediate reward, like a bunch of toddlers chasing lollipops. The problem is, once that lollipop’s gone all that is left is the stick. And sticks are just good for beating things with, or perhaps burning.

The burning will be on the pyre of pretense this time.

The flame of outrage will spring to life because even the craziest of Scots, as in anyone not confined indefinitely at ‘her majesty’s pleasure’ due to being just a little more than moderately disturbed, will come to understand ‘it’s all bollocks’.

Those Scots who were convinced to vote ‘NO’ during the referendum did so in order to keep the Barrel of Westminster Apples. However, the contents are already rotted and are no good for anything other than cider vinegar. Nevertheless the label on the tub proudly proclaimed in shiny red, white and blue the contents to be of ‘finest vintage’ while the media ‘Heralded’ it as such and the average establishment ‘Scotsman’ peddled those wares hard.

That MSM portrayed a scenario of ‘saving’ something and like puppies or drowning kittens, we’ll usually try to save something we know. They bet on it. Even then, it was close, because it took the entire establishment surging north in the last days, vowing everything with fingers tightly crossed behind its collective three party back, all the while singing ‘a Gordon for me’ as it lined up behind its new front man. So what if it was its old front man? It worked, it reportedly changed the votes of less than a handful of a hundred of us, but it was enough.

Several months on and we’re heading for the GE. However, the Scots aren’t buying it any longer. While I did expect a post referendum reaction I’ll admit to being surprise at the strength of it.

This time the singing isn’t coming across as melodic, not to enough of us to count anyway. You see, we know that with fifty or so MP’s, even holding the balance of power, they’ll still be the ‘feeble fifty’.

We know it because we’re already being told so, and we’re being told what will happen afterwards by London’s tame media.

We’re being told that the Tories and Labour will unite at Westminster to pass any legislation that might need to get passed to suit their very personal agendas and Scotland, with her wishes, be-damned.

However this is problematical as a formal alliance or coalition will strip from the English Electorate any illusion of there being two real choices. No, they’ve got to do it on a case by case basis, for that illusion of democracy must be preserved.

The quandary is, with so many individual MP’s or prospective MP’s having wildly varying opinions, especially on things like Nuclear Armaments and energy, there’s absolutely no way they can chance a ‘free vote’; the USA’s military industrial complex and her quiet lobbyists just can’t allow that either, in the case of Trident at least.

It will be downplayed in the media, but there’ll be no avoiding it, there will need to be a formal alliance between the Labour and Tory parties to achieve their joint aims. It might be case by case to try to fool England’s populous, but happen it will, and the Scots at least will know.

Of course, they can avoid it, if they can form an intentionally ‘ineffective’ government with the SNP involved and then engineer a ‘crisis’ where the administration loses a vote of confidence. They’d do it when the polls were favourable, preferably right before a big vote where Labour-Tory cross party unification is needed, though they’ll probably try to pull in the Lib-Dems and present it as ‘national unity’.

The crisis will be engineered when the polls swing enough to make a single party majority a virtual certainty. The “calamity” will be instigated by creating a need for a vote on something the SNP just can’t support. The government, like Callaghan’s in 1979 will fall apart, just as he knew it would before he called his confidence vote. And the blame and sham cries of “Foul” will once again be heaped upon the SNP. Consequently, it can be almost guaranteed the Tories will be elected. After all, England’s media at least, doesn’t want us dastardly Scots anywhere near the corridors of power.

In the meantime, to preserve the pretense of democratic rule in England, it’s entirely possible some major concessions towards Scotland might just have to be voted through. They’d do it because it’d probably make the polls swing faster as well.

North of Hadrian’s wall, the world is viewed rather differently, as will be the outcome this potential future election. The Scots will have a constitutional lesson that can’t be swept under the carpet. ‘Like trying to pull us out of Europe’ we’ll be told in no uncertain manner that our voices don’t count.

The Europe bit? That’s smoke and mirrors. That almost certainly won’t happen.

Trashing the value of democracy in Scotland, it’s an ongoing thing in the Union – and the Union will run true to form.

So why vote SNP, why try and outdo the ‘Tactical Vote’?

Because in the several months they are down London way, those men and women might just achieve a lot, and even if they don’t manage that, they’ll still achieve a lot – for the elections in 2016.

You see, these 2015 elections aren’t about 2015, they’re about a better goal; they’re about an absolute majority at Holyrood 2016. A majority that will be deliver by a thoroughly aggrieved nation.

When the SNP achieves this majority it will then have the ‘changed circumstances’ required allowing a call for a snap referendum. Those who’d object to that would be objecting to democracy, as it would be undoubtedly the expressed will of the Scottish people.

And what happens if the Unionists see this plan? It’s irrelevant, because the only way to stop it is to allow full participatory democracy in London, there’ll be no ‘feeble fifty’; there will be a ‘mighty minority’.

So, go ahead, defeat that tactical voting proposal. You know you really want to.

Elect those SNP MP’s and poke that Westminster ant hill with a 400 mile long stick.

It’ll be a delightful watching the outcome.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Vote for Labour, Get Maggie.

And she isn’t even running in this election, bit difficult, since she’s dead. But her policies and ideals are in the race, and they’re under Labour’s banner too.

As I went through my little exercise yesterday, I was shocked to discover that even UKIP are to the left of Labour?

Yes, surprising, isn’t it?

Personally, I’d always stereotyped the ‘K
ippers’ as somewhere akin to the Monster Raving Loonies. How wrong was I? At least in part. That’d be the part that doesn’t deal with any policies of demonisation and racism. 

To try to sort my way through the confusion of the parties in this GE, it seemed fair to tabulate what they were offering, and what they stood or stand for. To that end, I rustled up the ten most important policies to me. I then looked to see where the parties and participants in last week’s debate stood on them. The fact that I was able to find a view 
from the seven parties on each of my preferred policies seems to support the fact that they might think they’re relevant too.

I use the phrase ‘stood or stand’ above and this is where we find some surprises. For as we know, times changes much.
Any newly adopted policies that might not generally agree with historical positions I marked as neutral - yellow. 
Where a party was in reasonably substantial support of the policy they got a green tick. 
If the opposed or did not support the policies they got a red cross.

Fairly straightforward.

If I couldn't make up my mind where the party specifically fell in regards to a policy, or no particular opinion was expressed, then I’d allocate two symbols. The poor Lib-Dem’s were the only party to get hit that way; you just can’t swear a vow and not keep to it. It’s also why the majority got nailed on this, but the Lib-Dem’s with student fees and a ‘federal UK’ effectively did it twice, so they get two black marks.

On a personal basis I believe politicians who lie like that (really no other word for it, is there?) should be jailed for electoral fraud. They made promises in return for votes, and didn’t keep them. No different to me selling you my ‘reliable car’ then you finding out the following morning it is only good for the breakers yard. The difference here is the big UK parties are asking you to buy another car, in the same condition, while telling you it’s all bright, shiny and new. There’s a fool someplace in that scenario, and judging by the reactions of Joe and Josephine public, it wasn't the big UK parties. On the other hand, with MSM spoon-feeding the public, what other options had they? From this point of view the internet and social media have been a great leveler.

Seems like it’s time for a change? There’s no shame in learning, just - for some - the effort is beyond them.

At least in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, we've got that option, a nice bright shiny new vehicle in the form of the SNP. And so far, it has mostly done what it says on the tin. We’ll need to keep watching it though, just in case those attitudes it’ll be around are infectious. After all, there’s a track record there - just look at Labour?

Anyway, here’s the table, and based solely on policy, with my interpretation of the results, you really can see UKIP is probably a little to the left of Labour, which might account for some of their mass appeal in spite of being so poisonously radical and extreme in some areas of what they propose.

It transpires with these policies, UKIP is further LEFT than Labour.

Interestingly, the best correlation for everything might just be the referencing of 1950 Labour, because it does two things. It shows the popular appeal of Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP to be based upon support of policies which Labour championed back then, and shows how far the current Labour Party has drifted from those values. In my world that’s a clear indicator of why the red rose is hemorrhaging support. It’s not that public values or what the public really wants that has changed. 

A glance over these two charts quickly reveals the true state of affairs. 

With nearly 50% of Scotland’s electorate readying to vote SNP on this platform, we can clearly and simply see that what those folk are in effect voting for was much, if not most of what Labour stood for in its prime. 

Scotland has not abandoned Labour. Labour has abandoned Scotland

By looking at this and examining current voting intentions then it follows, Scots still have much the same values they had after the Second World War. Moreover the form that we Scot’s desire our society to take hasn't really changed an awful lot. Does this in point of fact mean that we have not moved forward in 70 years, or is this indicative of our desire to retain a core value that is a foundation stone in our society which we choose to protect? 

The Labour party on the other hand..? Well, only the folks at the top of that tree and their financial backers in the City of London or perhaps the Unions can really answer that one, can’t they? Then again, it has never really been the Labour Party since before Maggie broke the Unions, has it? If it had been, perhaps she might not have been as successful in her aims as she was. I can say that because the Labour Party of the fifties was quite honourable, by comparison anyway, and what gave Maggie her toehold in 1979 was Labour’s reneging and twisting of the vow on Scottish devolution.

Simply put, in 1979 had there been no lie there would have been no Maggie. Now wouldn't that have been nice?

One thing that’s very clear, it’s not your father’s Labour Party, it sure as hell isn’t your grandfather’s, and for all the difference, you might as well vote Tory these days, or Lib-Dem, if you don’t mind backing a bunch of liars.

Then again, from what I’m seeing here, you really couldn't get a silken thread between them, could you?

Additionally, from what I now see when I look at where the Tories were in 1980, against where Labour is today, then it really should be:

‘Vote Labour – Vote Maggie’

Because right now, Labour’s proposing support for things like the creeping privatisation of the NHS and international treaties without looking to see if they’re compatible with our core values.

That’s stuff that even Maggie didn’t dare to put on the table!

Monday, 6 April 2015

Election Deflection.

I find it somewhat disturbing when politicians point to their families attempting to prove just how deeply "we are all in it together".
Therefore I am more than a little unsettled and uncomfortable that Mrs. Cameron has chosen this time to share the pain of losing their child Ivan. 

Grief, with all its stages and duration of intensity is a very deeply, personal thing.
Each and every one of us has experienced it at some point in our lives; the loss of a parent, a child, a brother, a grandparent.
We have all dealt with these devastating emotions in the only way we can. Personally. Using whatever strengths we have to move us along from the initial transfixing agony, to a point in our lives where the pain no longer cripples.

Every one of us is well aware that this gradual process through which the individual journeys has well defined stages that are described and documented by various medical professionals. (Coping With Grief And Loss)

Each phase happens at different times for every one of us. Anger may be first, or denial … but each of these chapters are inevitably encountered by the mourner.
Sadly, some individuals may become stuck at any point during their grief; unable to comprehend “The Why” of it, or perhaps incapable of overcoming the anger or survival-guilt.
When they do hit a road-block in their recovery, what they need is professional help and empathy. Broadcasting your pain in the media during an election campaign is of no theraputic use.
Or perhaps it is only now that Mrs. Cameron has reached a stage where she feels able to “share”.

However, I notice with many politicians and their families, timing is everything.

I think if we are to believe there was no cynical aforethought to this, they should have considered a different timing to share their pain, because right now it just looks cold, cynical and calculated.

Either heading to the papers earlier in the year or waiting another month would perhaps have had less of "ploy" look to it.
If it is cynical manipulation of the press and public then it demeans the wee lad's memory.

The only thing I can take from the release and timing  of these emotional outpourings is the overt attempt to send a subliminal message to the disabled and vulnerable.
And this is clearly to communicate the idea of “I/we understand and share your pain. Trust me/us”.

What I find frankly disturbing, is the message is being delivered even now as Cameron and his government have already specified swingeing cuts directed towards these very people – although the details of the cuts, unlike the details of the grief - are being withheld until after May 7th.